- Stunning beaches
- Charming coastal towns
- Busch Gardens
- Cultural treasures
The elongated stretch of coastline can be refined to what is known as ‘Florida’s Beach’, and in particular Clearwater and St Petersburg have a reputation as being the best beach destinations in the US. Clearwater is all about the beaches, and St Petersburg has equally idyllic sandy shores, with the addition of entertainment in the shape of its pier, and its educational Salvador Dali Museum. Another great family retreat in the area is Sarasota containing Siesta Beach which really is the epitome of relaxation.
Things to do
America as a whole is not regarded as a land rich in culture, but here in the Gulf Coast cultural gems can be located in numerous locations. In St Petersburg the Dali museum rests inside a beautiful 19th century building, and exhibits a collection of Dali’s artwork. Ybor, an area of Tampa has a great tradition of trade, and was previously the cigar capital of the world, filled with history. The best shopping found in the Gulf Coast is located on the Paradise Coast of Naples and Marco Island; parallel to the beaches luxury malls and boutiques are plentiful.
Spanning across an impressive 335 acres of land, Busch Gardens distinguishes itself from Disney World by combining a zoo and theme park with an African theme. For many, the Gulf Coast is visited solely for Busch Gardens and possesses brilliant landscaping, great shows, and excellent play areas for children. However, the star attraction is the roller coasters that entice thrill seekers; 4 of the rides are categorised as super coasters, and are amongst the fastest and most exhilarating in the world.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Dining options offer a wide variety of choice, from fast food outlets to picturesque ocean front restaurants. By the coast there is an obvious emphasis on seafood; Traders Café in Sanibel, and the Sunshine Seafood Café in Captiva are two of the Gulf Coasts most renowned restaurants. As the sun sets relax at the ocean side bars with an exotic cocktail, or visit the Ybor district of Tampa to experience the nightclub capital of the region.
The southern tip of the Gulf Coast is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the entirety of the US. The Florida Everglades, characterised by its long grass and murky waters that thrive in wildlife, including the notorious alligator, and an abundance of bird species. Fishing, hiking, and airboat tours are just some of the activities the Everglades have to offer. In contrast Tampa is the largest city in the region and comprises of not only great shopping, but also family activities such as the Florida Aquarium and Busch Gardens.
- Flight time from the UK is 10 hours
- Fort Myers is the closest airport to the beach resorts of the Gulf Coast
- Driving is the most common mode of transport in the Gulf Coast